Thai art teacher caught on cell phone camera caning students for not cleaning their dormitory

BANGKOK (AP) — Secretly recorded cell phone footage has exposed a teacher at a Catholic boarding school in northeastern Thailand who whacked dozens of students on the buttocks with a cane wrapped with electrical wire.

Art teacher Somchai Limthanmaporn was fired after he was exposed hitting at least 40 students, according to Nongkran Prathumtri, an administrator at St. Mary's School in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. She said the school would not defend him.

The footage of last week's canings was aired Monday on Thai television.

Parents of the students at St. Mary's have already filed complaints with police over the beatings, meted out as punishment to students who failed to clean their living quarters.

In the clip secretly recorded by one of the students, Somchai delivered baseball-like swings at their buttocks, leaving at least one of his targets in tears. Pictures of scarred buttocks were widely shown in the Thai media Monday.

"He must be responsible for his wrongdoing," Nongkran told TNN television news. "There will be no protection from the school."

Thailand's Education Ministry prohibits any inhuman or violent punishment and only allows the use of verbal warnings, probation and termination in the event that teachers have evidence to warrant punishing their students. However, the use of corporal punishment is not unusual.

Neither the school nor police handling the case could be directly contacted Monday.

Because Somchai was not a full-time accredited teacher, he cannot face any professional sanctions from the Teachers' Council of Thailand, reported the newspaper Matichon. Legal action remains up to the police.